The Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 10 V3 from the British company Blackstar is one of the most versatile amplifiers we have seen so far in its price range. This combo amplifier series of Blackstar is ideal for musicians who do not want to carry around heavy equipment but still want to be able to get a ‘real amplifier’ sound.
With its various different voices and the possibility to adjust each voice and the three different effects (modulation, delay, reverb) that are linked to it, this amplifier gives you a whole bunch of opportunities to create and define your own sound in just seconds. For each effect, there are multiple variations (four per effect, which bring us to a total of 12 different effects) and all these settings can be saved to your own custom presets (up to six!).
What we can conclude about this third production of the ID:Core Stereo V3 is that Blackstar always sees room for improvement. The first ID:Core series was launched 7 years ago and after the V2 they even decided to develop an even more improved V3! The biggest difference between the V2 and older series compared to the ID:Core V3 is the new Cab Rig Lite technology that comes with the brand new Architect software (a replacement for the INSIDER software). Note that the Cab Rig Lite will only be available for the V3. Additionally, to the already existing MP3 line input the company has added a TRRS connection.
Let's get into the review or check the video below!
The ID:Core Stereo 10 V3 is provided with:
- 2x 5 watt speakers
- 6 different default voices (clean, crunch, overdrive, etc.)
- Possibility to create your own voices (in manual mode)
- A variety of adjustable effects such as modulation, delay, reverb
Including a tap tempo for every adjustable delay and modulation effects
- The patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
- An onboard chromatic tuner
- A headphone out and a line-in for streaming
- The free Architect software package (only compatible for the V3)
- USB out for professional recording straight to your DAW.
The ID:Core Stereo V3 is compatible with the PB-1 power bank from Blackstar (up to 9 hours of continuous playback) and like its previous model (V2) the V3 will be released in a 10, 20, and 40 watts amplifier.
6 different voices
Default mode (+ demo)
With the default mode of the ID:Core V3 you have access to six different voices which go from clean to crunch, to overdrive (equal to its previous models). When the manual led is not selected you are in default mode and each voice with its default settings is selected. The different voices are easily adjustable with the voice knob on top of the amplifier. To give you an impression of the differences in sound between each voice we have recorded a small demo*. Below the demo you can see the name of each voice and when it was selected.
- Clean Warm (0:00 - 0:15)
- Clean Bright (0:16 - 0:32)
- OD 1 (0:33 - 0:48)
- OD 2 (0:49 - 0:57)
- Super Crunch (0:58 - 1:09)
*demo played with a stratocaster (neck pickup with the tone knob half open)
The two overdrive channels come with a noise gate that can be adjusted with the Architect software.
Additionally to the default voices it is possible to switch to manual mode and create your own voices. This gives you the opportunity to adjust all the settings of the default voices to shape your own sound and develop your own (up to 6) patches (which you can also save). So, when the manual led is selected you are in manual mode and the settings in gain, volume, EQ, and effects are as you can see them. A very cool feature is the Architect software that comes with this amplifier that shows you exactly what is going on and what effect is being played. It is also interactive with the amplifier so when you adjust a setting on your amp this setting is also adjusted in real-time in Architect (which we will talk more about later in this article).
Another interesting feature of the ID Core Stereo V3 is that it has a variety of effects (modulation, delay, and reverb) that can be used in manual mode. Each effect has 4 different varieties that can be adjusted in strength with the effect knobs. It is possible to only use one effect, use multiple, or use all effects at the same time. When adjusting effects on the ID:Core V3 the button of the concerning effect is switched to red, if the button of an effect is switched green it means that it is switched on (or can be turned off). This system allows you to quickly move through different effects and control each of them separately.
The reverb pedal consists of a room, hall, spring, and plate reverb.
The delay pedal comes with a linear, analog, tape echo, and a multi-tap delay in which it is possible to use the tap tempo either on the Architect software or the amplifier itself to adjust the tempo.
The modulation pedal comes with a phaser, flanger, envelope, and a tremolo effect. The tap tempo works the same as with the delay pedal.
As most Blackstar amplifiers is the ID:Core V3 equipped with the ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) EQ function of Blackstar. With this function, you can create subtle tonal differences and this gives you even more control over your tone. When set all the way to 0 (also called the American position) it gives a tight and clean percussive sound like all favorite American amps, when turned to 10 its tone will be slightly warmer (also called the British position) with a bit more midrange crunch. Finally, it is very easy to switch between these sounds with the EQ knob and these sounds can also be blended together.
The ID:Core V3 comes with the brand new Architect software developed by Blackstar. Architect is a replacement of the INSIDER Software and has a much more modern and clean design and gives you the opportunity to see what is behind all the effect pedals. Architect gives you some additional options to adjust your effects or for example the noise gate which cannot be adjusted through the amplifier. The Architect software is showing the settings in real-time, so when you adjust a setting on your amplifier this setting is also adjusted in Architect. A really cool additional feature of the Architect software is the Cab Rig Lite technology which is only available for the ID:Core V3 (which we discuss in more detail below).
Cab rig lite
The Cab Rig Lite feature is one of the most interesting features of this new amplifier. With a variety of microphones, different microphone positions, and cabinets, Cab Rig Lite gives you the opportunity to shape your sound even further and bringing you professional recording opportunities without expensive gear.
As shown in the picture below Cab Rig Lite gives you the option to use a dynamic, condenser, or ribbon microphone (or at least get the specific sound of one of them) and subsequently choose between a variety of different cabinets (1x12 combo, 1x12 cabinet, 2x12 open back, 4x12A classic 1, 4x12A classic 2, 4x12B modern, and 4x12B oversized).
With the ID:Core V3 it is possible to record your audio without using an audio interface. For connecting the ID:Core V3 to your DAW only a standard audio driver (ASIO for example) is required so you do not need specific software. Also, it is possible to adjust the signal output level independently from the amp its volume which allows you to achieve a strong recording signal level while monitoring at a lower volume.
When connecting the amplifier to your DAW you will notify four different channels. Channel 1 is the ‘left’ channel and contains the fully processed (left) guitar sound. Channel 2 is the ‘right’ channel and contains the fully processed (right) guitar sound. So for a wide stereo effect, you could record these two channels and pan channel 1 all the way to the left and channel 2 to the right.
Fortunately, it is also possible to only record the sound of the amplifier or even the unprocessed guitar signal (channel 3 and 4) which allows you to use the amplifier as an audio interface.
See below the pricing of all 3 amps, which is super affordable if you ask us!
- 10Watt: 135 EUR
- 20Watt: 175 EUR
- 40Watt 209 EUR
The amplifier is very small and light and offers a lot of options for a very fair price. Despite its size, its sound is amazing and almost comparable to the real tube amplifiers (at least in the mid-and highs). And even with the possibility to switch between different amp sounds and accessibility to a variety of effects + you can use it as an audio interface for direct recording. With its easy accessibility, it will only take you a few minutes to figure out how everything works.
What I like most about the ID:Core Stereo 10 V3 is that the sound is very easily adjustable with the different voices knobs and trough the gain and EQ knobs and that you have the possibility to even shape your sound in more detail with the new Architect software and its Cab Rig Lite technology. The effect controls are equally convenient to use and because there are not too many effects, these are also easily accessible and adjustable. So, when you have a certain tone in mind you will be able to find it before you get your mind on something else, with this Blackstar amp, you will find your tone right away.
We created two patches for you to download and use within the Architect software, want to get them for free? Click here!